Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 51 Number 2, 2014
   Pages 285 — 296

Abstract — PTSD is negatively associated with physical performance and physical function in older overweight military Veterans

Katherine S. Hall, PhD;1–3* Jean C. Beckham, PhD;4–5 Hayden B. Bosworth, PhD;2–3,5–6 Richard Sloane, MS;2 Carl F. Pieper, DrPH;2 Miriam C. Morey, PhD1–3,6

1Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center, Durham, NC; 2Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center/Center for Aging and 3Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC; 4VA Research Service/Veterans Integrated Service Network 6 Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center, VA Medical Center, Durham, NC; 5Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC; 6Center for Health Services Research and Development, VA Medical Center, Durham, NC

Abstract — This study examines the effect of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on function and physical performance in older overweight military Veterans with comorbid conditions. This is a secondary data analysis of older Veterans (mean age = 62.9 yr) participating in a physical activity counseling trial. Study participants with PTSD (n = 67) and without PTSD (n = 235) were identified. Self-reported physical function (36-item Short Form Health Survey) and directly measured physical performance (mobility, aerobic endurance, strength) were assessed. Multivariate analyses of variance controlling for demographic factors and psychiatric disorders demonstrated significant physical impairment among those with PTSD. PTSD was negatively associated with self-reported physical function, functioning in daily activities, and general health (p < 0.01). Those with PTSD also performed significantly worse on tests of lower-limb function (p < 0.05). Despite being significantly younger, Veterans with PTSD had comparable scores on gait speed, aerobic endurance, grip strength, and bodily pain compared with Veterans without PTSD. This study provides preliminary data for the negative association between PTSD and physical function in older military Veterans. These data highlight the importance of ongoing monitoring of physical performance among returning Veterans with PTSD and intervening in older overweight Veterans with PTSD, whose physical performance scores are indicative of accelerated risk of premature functional aging.

Clinical Trial Registration:; NCT00594399; “Veterans Enhanced Fitness Study”;

Key words: aging, comorbid, function, geriatrics, health, mobility, physical performance, psychological, PTSD, SF-36.

View HTML ¦ View PDF ¦ Contents Vol. 51, No.2
This article and any supplementary material should be cited as follows:
Hall KS, Beckham JC, Bosworth HB, Sloane R, Pieper CF, Morey MC. PTSD is negatively associated with physical performance and physical function in older overweight military Veterans. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2014; 51(2):285–96.

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